Unique proof Arnold & Dent trade card, c.1830

Unique proof Arnold & Dent trade card, c.1830

Stock Number: 044


Rare survival of a proof pull of a trade card advertising Arnold & Dent's chronometers, with Royal Observatory Greenwich and Board of Longitude information






Arnold and Dent

Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Bookshop, Maritime, Chronometers & Deck Watches, Chronometers & Deck Watches, Timekeeping


This is apparently the sole surviving example of Arnold & Dent’s c.1830 trade card, featuring information on their award of £3,000 from the Board of Longitude, and an unusually detailed text that reprints a letter from the Astronomer Royal commending the firm’s No.114 chronometer and giving the results of a ‘Public Trial’. The report ends “This is superior to any yet tried by Order of The Lords of the Admiralty.”

The dates of the trial are 1828 and 1829, and John Roger Arnold and Edward John Dent went into partnership in 1830, so we can be fairly confident about the dating of this trade card, which may well be the newly formed partnership’s first. Arnold & Dent were the pre-eminent chronometer makers of their day.

This proof pull is printed on relatively thin paper and is clearly a trial for the future trade card – however no examples of the latter can be located. The text of the advertisement – though not the copperplate image – was printed in Joseph Blunt’s
The Merchant’s and Shipmaster’s Assistant, 1832. The trade card is neither pictured nor mentioned in Vaudrey Mercer’s exhaustive 1977 biographical memoir.

The print is in good condtion, noting that the plate has left fragile edges where it has pressed into the paper: there is a short tear to the lower edge – but see the photograph for a good indication of the condition. The sheet has been mounted onto card, inscribed to the reverse ‘Arnold chronometer rate / 1829’.

Single sheet: 210x105mm, plate mark 120x80mm.

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Dealer information

GB Octavo Books

Small online bookstore specializing in the history of science, trading on ABEbooks since 2006: http://www.abebooks.co.uk/octavo-books-cambridge/50628664/sf

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